UC Davis 4th Year Clinics – Ophthalmology

Ophtho was one of my favorite rotations, and I honestly never expected it to be as I was previously squeamish about eye issues. All that is now behind me and I have come to appreciate how great and important eyes are!

# of Students: 3-6
# of Residents: 2-3
# of Faculty: 1-3
You will also be assisted by 2 fantastic RVTs!

Hours: Generally 8am-6pm

Rounds: Daily slideshow rounds in the morning and/or afternoon and case rounds. The faculty have you sit at a conference table and go through powerpoint slides of the most common ophtho cases you’ll see in practice and students take turns evaluating and describing the problems. It may seem intimidating, but it’s incredibly fun! You get a history (often in the form of a story) and you are required to name the patient before describing the problems, diagnostics, treatment, and prognosis. Case rounds are more simple and brief updates on current inpatients.

Caseload: Expect 2-4 cases per day. Mostly small animals, but equine cases are seen as well.

Your Role: You will greet clients and bring them to the ophtho exam room, get a history and perform an ophtho exam, though you will check with clinicians before dilating eyes. Once you are finished you will leave the room to present the case to the resident or faculty and they will then come into the room and repeat the ophtho exam and discuss treatment plans with the owners. Though not terribly common, ophtho cases can become in-patients and I did have a few during my rotation. For in patients you are required to do 8am and 8pm treatments for the duration of the patients stay.

On Call: At the beginning of each week, students sign up for evening and weekend on call shifts. Weekdays one student per day, weekends one student for the day, one per night. So expect to be on call 2-3x/week. Ophtho emergencies happen though, and I got called in a few times.

Records: You are responsible for history and discharge instructions only — residents & faculty will fill everything else in! 🙂

Weekends: Unless you have an on-call shift, your weekends are yours to enjoy! Chances are you will have at least one weekend shift per week. Ophtho emergencies happen though, and I got called in a few times.


  • Amazing faculty and residents, with great senses of humor! They know their stuff and are extremely helpful and supportive!
  • Good positive attitudes, lots of laughs, and very laid back personalities.
  • Rounds are extremely educational and worthwhile!
  • Getting comfortable with eyes — they are extremely important organs and not to be overlooked (no pun intended)!
  • You get to see consults from other services frequently – especially the exotics & wildlife service (CAPE). This made it very interesting as you got to see species diversity.


  • Rounds can be intimidating because you feel like you’re put on the spot, but you know more than you think you do!
  • Would have liked to get more practice doing fundic exams while on the rotation since we usually waited to dilate eyes until the clincian okayed it. Either way, I am currently very comfortable performing fundic exams!


  • By far, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in this hospital has been microscopic eye surgery such as to fix a lens luxation. They use a microscope to guide them as they cut into the eye and remove the lens, and even stitch up the eye using the microscope as the suture material is so tiny! I even got to scrub in and assist with one of these surgeries, which was amazing! They are also able to project what they are seeing through the microscope onto a TV for students to watch during the procedure, which is a fantastic learning tool!